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Breaking Trail On The Edge

In 2018 we spent almost a month living and travelling in the Yukon Wilderness aiming to recreate Alex Van Bibber's 1943 Canoil Expedition from Mayo to Norman Wells. During our stay in Betty's Cabin away from distractions of modern life with emails, calls and other elements I literally had 2-3 nights where I awoke with poetry and verse flying around my head. With a pencil and my journal this is what i managed to jot down by head torch. There are three poems about the Yukon that i am publishing on my website.


Of course I am not the first to experience such inspiration as the famous Yukon poet Robert Service bears witness to the creative and spiritual nature of this wilderness. Throughout our planning of the Ski to the Edge we wanted to honour Alex and highlight the impact and legacy he left.


To Alex!...Hope you like it


Heading out for a trip to ski to the edge 

Carrying all my worldly possessions tucked in a sledge 

Me , Si , matt 3 musketeers into the night 

Temperature down to minus 50 gave us a fright 


Leaving Mayo with lights, warmth and good folk 

Must have appeared like a bit of a joke 

The footsteps we followed were bigger than ours 

Of a time and a man with special powers 


Alex van Bibber was a legend in time 

Holding the fort for values like mine 

He walked and explored the Yukon wild 

Since born at Pelly crossing, only a child 


Getting to school meant taking a raft 

Such responsibility as captain seems almost daft 

Alex prospered, sharing, teaching the old ways 

Patient, kind, witty till the end of his days 


He shared with us an incredible tale 

Of his time reccying the pipeline trail 

Forty two days of camping out rough 

Hardly noticed by a man so tough


Our journey and adventure has taken a turn 

With matt’s frostbite toes new plans discern 

To make Norman wells would be a huge risk

Like scary roulette with only one disc 


The game has changed with just Si and Rich 

Finding new rhythm and scouting the pitch 

Hopefully spending a month in the wild 

We’ll get more sunlight and days that are mild


And Alex would smile feeling proud 

We’ve taken small steps and been truly wowed 

Understanding his journey during the war 

Humble, authentic and ever so raw


So thank you Alex for sharing your tale 

When men were men and refused to fail